Theresa May addresses Tory MPs on Wednesday, as speculation swirls that she could announce a date for her resignation as PM in a last-ditch bid to get her Brexit deal passed at a third attempt. A crisis of her own making?
The beleaguered prime minister will speak to the Tory party’s 1922 Committee of backbenchers at 5pm. The Sun’s political editor, Tom Newton Dunn, claims that there is an “expectation” among influential Tories that May will use the meeting to outline her date of departure as UK prime minister.
Massive moment. The expectation among Tory grandees now is that PM uses the below to set a date for her resignation. https://t.co/UOOzxTRm2O
— Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) March 26, 2019
One Conservative parliamentarian has suggested it was “certainly a possibility” that she could set a date for her to leave office.
If the rumors are proven true, it would represent a somewhat humiliating end to May’s reign as prime minister.
She was given the unenviable task of navigating the UK’s exit from the EU, handed to her by her predecessor David Cameron, after the Brexit referendum in 2016 – and has ultimately failed, barring a miracle.
Where did it all go wrong for May?
1) 2017 General Election wiped out Tory majority
Losing an outright majority at the snap general election proved costly for Theresa May in the context of passing her deal. With a weakened number of Conservative MPs, the PM has lost a myriad of Brexit votes, including two historic losses on her main EU Withdrawal Agreement.
2) No cross-party consensus building from beginning
UK MPs won a critical vote on Monday to take control of the Brexit process, enabling lawmakers to table a number of alternative solutions to the beleaguered deal.
A number of parliamentarians, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, have argued that such a plan should have been started at the beginning and not the end of the Brexit process to avoid the mess in which the UK currently finds itself.
3) Hardline Brexiteers in the ERG
Jacob Rees-Mogg’s European Research Group has been a constant thorn in the prime minister’s side. The hardline Brexiteer group initiated the vote of ‘no confidence’ in May and has failed to show any willingness to loosen their red lines on the contentious Irish backstop issue – wedded to the DUP line.
4) DUP and Irish backstop
May’s ‘confidence and supply’ partners, the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party, have proved to be steadfast in their unwillingness to compromise on the Irish backstop, claiming it “posed a risk to the integrity of the union.”
Writing in the Telegraph on Tuesday, Sammy Wilson, the party’s Brexit spokesperson insisted they would not let “the PM or the Remainer horde in Parliament to bully us into backing a toxic Brexit deal.”
5) Brussels speech blaming MPs for Brexit debacle
The PM was widely criticized by British lawmakers after the most recent EU Council meeting with the bloc’s 27 members, in which she hit out at MPs for delaying Brexit obfuscating personal responsibility for the debacle.
On Monday, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford delivered a stinging attack on the character of May in the House of Commons, calling her speech “Trumpesque.”
The future of May as prime minister has arguably never felt so perilous, with her Brexit deal all but in tatters. Her meeting with Tory backbench MPs on Wednesday could deliver yet another major twist in the Brexit saga.